There is one more step for the Raptors to take before they can be considered anything close to a complete thing, a little oddity that no one can fully explain but something that’s keeping them from being whole.
“You can jump up and down before the game, yell, scream whatever it is, some teams just go through that. This team has been a third-quarter team all year, it’s hard to live that way, it makes it hard on yourself, especially against good teams.”
A good team the 1-8 Pelicans are not, not without Anthony Davis and a host of other rotation regulars, and there was the feeling of an inevitable Toronto win most of the night. A 17-point first quarter and a 40-point first half weren’t pretty but the run-away-and-hide second half was predictable.
“The first half we couldn’t get stops,” said Patrick Patterson, who had two three pointers in the fourth quarter and 10 points on the night. “We had a lack of communication, lack of following orders as far as coverages. The start of the third quarter, that first unit did a great job of setting the pace and setting the tone for the entire second half.”
It also helped considerably that DeMarre Carroll came back to the starting lineup after missing a week with a sore heel. He had moments of rust but did contribute 11 points and five rebounds in 33 minutes.
Getting Carroll back almost gave the Raptors their full complement of players — Terrence Ross remains injured — but it gave them far more available bodies than the injury-decimated Pelicans.
Davis sat out for a second straight game with a hip bruise for New Orleans, which was also missing Norris Cole, Tyreke Evans, Quincy Pondexter and Kendrick Perkins.
“We went through the same thing last year, three guys trying to go into the newspaper and started shooting everybody. Now it was pretty much everywhere. It’s scary. I don’t know what the government has to do to make people more safe. It’s just a crazy world. You never know. I hope that it’s not going to happen more often and everybody will be safe.”
The Raptors made nine three-pointers, and two in the fourth quarter from the struggling Patrick Patterson helped break the game open. Kyle Lowry also had four to juice an offence that had just 40 points in the first half.
“He was bringing a crowd with him, he took what the game gave him,” Casey said of DeRozan. “They were trying to get the ball out of his hands and he did a good job of finding (people). And it helps when you knock the three-ball down, Pat (Patterson) seemed like he found his shot and that really helps your assist total.”